Farmer seeks fuel efficient plowing method

Wednesday, April 30th 2008, 10:30 pm
By: News 9

By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Oklahomans are going to great lengths to save money on gas.

If you take a look at the going rate of diesel fuel, it needs no explanation at all. Diesel is what farmers need to fuel their tractors, and depending on the acreage, that gets a little expensive.

It looks like a scene out of the old west when the farmer plows his land with two mules, but Lonnie Shockley is using this tried and true method to save some cash.

"The cultivator would take about four or five gallons with a tractor, but I can cultivate it in a day's time with my mules," Shockley said.

Four or five gallons of diesel fuel at a rate of $4 a gallon, is not a lot of money initially, but it tends to add up. The high cost is why Shockley temporarily gave up the tractor to use his mules for this six acre spread. But some of his land isn't farmed at all.

"I've turned a lot of my farmland into grass, so I don't have to farm it," Shockley said

Shockley has planted about 60 acres of wheat and while the price on that crop is up, there's little effect on Shockley's bottom line.

"By the time you figure out how much the gas and fuel and parts are, it doesn't offset it that much," Shockley said.

So far now, this retro- yet radical way of cultivating will have to do.

Shockley has about 160 acres of land and he's not going to use his mules to plow all of it, so at some point he's going to have to fire up his tractor.